A Spanish swimmer purposely jeopardised his own race to honour the fallen in last week’s terrorist attacks after competition officials denied his request.
Fernando Alvarez, from Cadiz, Spain, had asked officials at the FINA World Masters Championships, in Budapest, to hold a minute’s silence for the fifteen people that died last Thursday in Barcelona.
However the simple request was denied, which prompted Alvarez to sacrifice his own success in the race in 200 metre breaststroke to pay respects to the Spain victims with a minute’s silence of his own.
La organización rechazó guardar minuto de silencio por atentado en BCN, así que el gaditano Fernando Álvarez decidió hacerlo por su cuenta. pic.twitter.com/PCVvBGzYbb
— PabloMM (@PabloMM) August 20, 2017
The Spaniard stood still for one minute on his starting block while the other competitors began the race.
Speaking to El Espanol after the race, Fernando said:
I went to the director of the competition… But they told me that it was not possible [to have minute’s silence] because not a minute could be wasted.
It’s something that has affected us all, but maybe because of the distance and because I have family there… I really think it would have been a good thing to do.
So I started a minute later.
— Stuff.co.nz Sport (@NZStuffSport) August 22, 2017
He didn’t seem concerned about where he finished, explaining that:
… I do not mind, I have a feeling worth more than if I win all the gold medals in the world.
His actions didn’t go unnoticed, the moment had been captured on video and posted on Facebook which went on to have over half a million views.
People also took to Twitter to praise the Spanish swimmer for his selfless and personal tribute.
— M Strubell. (@mstrubell_EN) August 20, 2017
— Victor Marcilla (@VicMarcilla) August 20, 2017
Fernando Alvarez, what a guy. Love that sort of stuff! Out of order the competition officials declined his request for a minutes silence
— Jacko (@AshleyJackson11) August 22, 2017
Last Thursday’s terrorist attacks in Barcelona left 15 people dead and 130 people injured when a driver deliberately slammed his van into a crowd of innocents on the streets of Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s famous boulevard.
We raise our caps to Fernando’s sign of respect given to the victims of last week’s attacks.